Drefong Colt wins first leg of Japan’s Triple Crown

Geoglyph summoned a final burst of effort in the closing strides to win the Satsuki Sho (two thousand Japanese guineas, G1) on April 17 at Nakayama Racecourse by a length over Equinoxgiving to his father Drefong his first victory at the highest level in Japan.

The favorite of the first leg of the Japanese Triple Crown, Make equalityhad too much to do on the stretch run and settled for third, another 1 1/4 lengths behind and a neck ahead Danon Beluga.

Geoglyph, with Yuichi Fukunaga in shackles, covered the 2,000 meters (about 1 1/4 miles) in 1:59.7. His victory ensured lively competition for the second leg of the Triple Crown, the Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby, G1), on May 29 at Tokyo Racecourse with many of the top 2-year-olds of 2021 now expected to mount comeback efforts to compete. through this series.

Fukunaga kept Geoglyph in midfield through most of the Satsuki Sho, clear of his rivals and out of any potential traffic issues. He made good progress towards the middle of the course as the peloton entered the section with more work to do.

Register for

The last 200 meters were devoted to a test of will between Geoglyph and Equinox, a Kitasan Black colt ridden by Christophe Lemaire. Equinox took the lead as Geoglyph seemed to falter briefly before finding another gear in the final strides to draw level and clear the edges.

Fukunaga said he rode with confidence and faith in his colt’s conditioning.

“His start was good and we were able to sit in an ideal position, which was crucial to win today,” said the driver. “I already knew he was in good shape when I rode him in training and I was confident that, even though the colt was the fifth choice (in the bet), he was capable of winning today.

“The colt has the strength to maintain his speed, so I steered him wide, throwing an early bid before the fourth corner.”

The Satsuki Sho was the longest run in Geoglyph’s five-race career and its pedigree may raise concerns about a greater distance in the near future. His father, Drefong, was the 2016 Eclipse Prize champion sprinter with wins that year including the Ketel One King’s Bishop Stakes (G1) at Saratoga Racetrack and the TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) at Santa Anita Parkat 7 stadia and 6 stadia, respectively.

But Drefong’s father Gio Ponti was a grade 1 winner on turf and dirt at distances up to 1 1/4 miles.

“In the next Derby,” Fukunaga said, “we’ll have to see if he can handle the extra 400 yards.”

Geoglyph won its first two races, both at 1,800 meters (about 1 1/8 miles), then finished fifth in the Asahi Hai Futurity (G1), won by Do Deuce, to cap its 2-year-old season. He returned on February 13 in the Kyodo News Hai (G3) at the Tokyo Hippodrome behind Danon Beluga.

Tetsuya Kimura, who coaches the front two, blamed the February loss on training issues and praised Fukunaga’s efforts in the interim to prepare the colt for the Triple Crown first leg.

“This time his race jockey got a good feel for him and made sure the horse started his training well, and also gave him a good pace, so he could keep his legs going for the finish. “, said Kimura.

Kimura picked up his first classic victory and his second Japan Racing Association Grade 1 title.

The first four were all bred by Northern Farm. Geoglyph carries the familiar silks of Sunday Racing Co. and Equinox represents Silk Racing Co.

The geoglyph is not classified at grade 1 King Kamehameha Mare Aromatic. Drefong, the first freshman stallion in Japan in 2021, is hosting the 2022 season for a reported 7 million yen at Shadai Stallion Station.